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Northern teams have edge in small-school state cross country meet

Southern Nevada’s small-school teams will look to keep state titles at home at Saturday’s state cross country meet at Boulder City’s Veterans Memorial Park.

The meet is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

Following is a look at each of the four small-school races:

CLASS 3A BOYS — This is the one race of the six at state in which a Southern team enters as the favorite.

Boulder City won the Southern Regional by a score of 36-48 over Moapa Valley. The Eagles top five averaged 18 minutes, 18 seconds over the 3.1 mile course. Moapa’s scorers averaged 18:59.

Boulder City senior Matt Lundgren finished first in 16:52. Moapa Valley’s Josh Thompson, a sophomore, finished second in 16:55.

Lowry won the Northern Regional with a low score of 25 over runner-up Spring Creek (63). Albeit on a different course, Lowry’s top five averaged 18:38, an average of 20 seconds per runner slower than Boulder City.

Also qualifying from the North were Dayton and Truckee.

Ben Stephens of Spring Creek, a senior, was the individual winner of the Northern Regional in a time of 17:27.

Although the 3A South course at Mountain View Park in Laughlin might be faster than the North course at San Rafael Park in Reno, the Eagles will have the advantage of running state at Veterans Memorial Park in Boulder City — their home course.

CLASS 3A GIRLS — The team favorite is Lowry, the defending champion and winner of seven of the past eight 3A state meets.

Lowry won the 3A Northern Regional with 42 points. The other three northern qualifiers were Dayton (56), Truckee (62) and Spring Creek (69).

Lowry’s five scoring runners averaged 23:25 for the 3.1 miles.

The two qualifiers from the South were Faith Lutheran (18) and Virgin Valley (44).

Faith Lutheran’s top five runners averaged 23:55 for the 3.1 miles.

The top three individual runners, based on their qualifying times at the regionals, are Keely Bakken of Faith Lutheran, winner of the South Regional in 21:01; junior Kristin Ramton of Spring Creek, winner of the Northern Regional in 21:27; and sophomore Erin Tattersall of Lowry, runner-up at the North regional in 21:33.

CLASS 2A BOYS — Four teams qualified for state at the Northern Regional: Sierra Lutheran (32), Whittell (71), North Tahoe (73) and Incline (115).

Laughlin (31) and West Wendover (41) finished one-two at the Southern League meet and were the only two qualifying teams from the South.

Based on comparison times at the two regionals, run over similar 3.1-mile courses in Reno and Laughlin, Sierra Lutheran is expected to win fairly easily.

Sierra Lutheran’s top five runners averaged 17:56 over 3.1 miles. The battle for the team runner-up plaque likely will be between Whittell and North Tahoe, as it was at the Northern Regional.

Sierra Lutheran is led by junior Wade Meddles, who arguably is one of the nation’s top high school cross country runners.

Meddles won the 4A/5A (small schools) seeded race at the Stanford Invitational in September with a time of 15:28 in 3.1 miles. It was the second-fastest time overall at the event. No Nevadan has run a faster 3.1-mile time this season.

The only Nevada runner who has beaten Meddles this season is Bryan Tibaduiza, the Class 4A defending state champion from Galena.

At the 2A Northern Regional, Meddles ran 16:25, finishing almost 1½ minutes ahead of the second- and third-place runners, Incline junior Mike Sunseri (17:50) and Sierra Lutheran senior Michael Kubel (17:53).

Laughlin sophomore Cody McGeshick won the Southern 1A/2A regional in 18:48, with teammate Jorgen Davidson, a junior, second in 18:58.

CLASS 2A GIRLS — Five teams will compete at state.

From the North: Sage Ridge (33) won the Northern Regional, and Owyhee (82), North Tahoe (85) and Whittell (97) also qualified for state. The only 2A school fielding a full team at the Southern Regional was Laughlin.

Sage Ridge easily should prevail at state. The five Sage Ridge runners, led by defending state champion senior Claire Kelley, averaged 22:20 for their five scoring runners over the 3.1-mile Reno course.

The next-closest team to Sage Ridge’s composite average would be Laughlin, whose five scoring runners averaged 24:12 for the same distance over their home course in Laughlin.

Kelley won the Northern Regional with a time of 20:40 over 3.1 miles. Briana Drago of Incline was second in 21:19.

Jessica Gnadt of Laughlin won the South regional in 21:57 and has a good chance for a top-five finish at state.

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